Rory McIlroy not returning to PGA Tour policy board after ‘old wounds’ reopened

Rory McIlroy will not replace Webb Simpson on the PGA Tour policy board after the prospect of his return reopened “old wounds”.

McIlroy was hopeful that he could play a part in speeding up a deal between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which bankrolls the LIV Golf League.

However, the world number two has previously said that he and Patrick Cantlay “see the world quite differently” and also had an exchange of views with Jordan Spieth, another player director, after Spieth suggested the Tour’s multi-billion dollar deal with Strategic Sports Group meant investment from the PIF might not be needed.

And although he did not name names when discussing the issue in a press conference ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship, McIlroy referred to a “subset” of people who were against his return.

“It got pretty complicated and pretty messy and I think with the way it happened, I think it opened up some old wounds and scar tissue from things that have happened before,” McIlroy said.

“I think there was a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason.

“I think the best course of action is Webb just stays on and sees out his term, and I think he’s gotten to a place where he’s comfortable with doing that and I just sort of keep doing what I’m doing.

“So yeah, I put my hand up to help and it was, I wouldn’t say it was rejected, it was a complicated process to get through to put me back on there. So that’s all fine, no hard feelings and we’ll all move on.”

McIlroy has long been one of the most vocal critics of LIV Golf, insisting in July last year that he would rather retire than play on the Saudi-funded breakaway, but has softened his stance on the influx of money from the sovereign state’s PIF and admits he is “impatient” to get a deal done.

“I think we’ve got this window of opportunity to get it done, because both sides from a business perspective I wouldn’t say need to get it done, but it makes sense,” McIlroy said

“I sort of liken it to like when Northern Ireland went through the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, neither side was happy. Catholics weren’t happy, Protestants weren’t happy, but it brought peace and then you just sort of learn to live with whatever has been negotiated, right?

“That was in 1998 and 20, 25, 30 years ahead, my generation doesn’t know any different. It’s just this is what it’s always been like and we’ve never known anything but peace.

“It’s my little way of trying to think about it and trying to make both sides see that there could be a compromise here.


“Yeah, it’s probably not going to feel great for either side, but if it’s a place where the game of golf starts to thrive again and we can all get back together, then I think that’s ultimately a really good thing.”

McIlroy admits persuading American players to contest a more global schedule and the question of LIV players returning to the PGA Tour are issues which need to be resolved, but believes a deal can be done.

“I’m still optimistic,” he added. “I think Webb staying on is a really good thing. I think he’s got a really balanced voice in all of this and I think he sees the bigger picture, which is great.

“My fear was if Webb stepped off and it wasn’t me that was going in his place, what could potentially happen. I’m really happy that Webb has made that decision to stay on and serve out the rest of his term.”


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